MLA-1 Reflections: Day trip to Dunham Massey and Tatton Park

Dunham Massey was the first half of an exciting and informative day trip with MLA-1. The tour began with a short walk along the lake behind the red brick house in the Dunham Massey estate. Continuing along the path, we saw the oldest English Oak on the estate and treaded through to the main entrance into the gardens. Facing the house are two rows of lime tree avenues leading up to the deer sanctuary that forms most of the area. After a detour through the sanctuary, we entered the Dunham Massey Winter Garden which houses a collection of seasonal plants, followed by a tour of the Rose Garden. We then approached the rear facade of the house and saw the Edwardian style parterre and reached the ancient mound, which stood much higher but has reduced in height due to erosion. The tour ended at the orangery, which is currently unused. We were then given some time to explore the gardens and record its beauty further through photos and sketches.

The tour of Tatton Park’s gardens began on the terrace overlooking the Joseph Paxton designed ‘Par Terre’. The formal garden is enclosed by a Neo- Classical balustrade which gives the terrace a distinctly Mediterranean feel. The view extends out over the parkland created by Repton and influenced by the idealistic nature of English landscape. Herds of Deer and cattle roam the landscape and two manmade meres complete the scene. In the far distance Bosley Cloud, the start of the Pennines is silhouetted against the clouds. The hill represents ‘The Sublime’ beauty of nature and is recreated in the Japanese garden. The Japanese Garden is reached through the Pinetum which contains Pines and Conifers from across the globe. The biggest, a pair of Caucasian Pines contain 40 tons of timber each. Entering the Japanese garden, the visitor is immediately slowed by the irregularity of the paving. The path winds it way past mossy boulders, natural springs and stone lanterns. The path reaches the traditional Japanese tea house where the tea ceremony, or Chado takes place. The tea ceremony embraces the Buddhist principles of respect, purity, tranquillity and harmony. Visitors then cross a zig-zag bridge with views of the arched bridge to the Shinto Shrine framed by the autumnal oranges and reds of the Japanese Acers. The garden inspired feelings of peacefulness and had a restorative effect on the visitor.

Written & Photos by Charlie Griffen